And So It Begins

  • Wednesday / February 24, 2010

And So It Begins

This post was previously published on my other blog I decided to close down & move those few posts to my personal blog @

Maybe one day in the future when I have a studio and am producing work, I’ll start it back up … but probably not. Siliconundrum still lives on in my mind and my heart.

And now back to our regular programming …

And So It Begins 1It all started sometime in 1990. I was in a committed relationship, living in a Long Branch, NJ beach front apartment complex with Adam. It was a time of transition. I was no longer workin’ (read employed) in “Daddy’s Garage”. My “family business” was industrial metal finishing … electroplating. I so needed out of there! I had worked there on and off from the time I was a teenager. I told my mom … I’m done. Lay me off so I can collect unemployment and get some time to make some changes. I want to go back to school.

Luckily during that time I was seeing my therapist Phil. There was a lot of change going on. My brain was being rewired … it was invigorating and intoxicating. Inevitably with this much change comes the “hitting of the wall” or a plateau … if you will. When I got to that point, I wasn’t sure what to do next. Phil sure had an idea. “Joe, I have someone you should see. She’ll put you on the right path.” Oh great … he’s trying to get rid of me. I’m sorry Phil …. I’ll do better! Don’t abandon me! “No Joe. She’s not a therapist. She’s a psychic.” Huh!?! What!?! A psychic? Phil said, “she’s good!” She can do more for you in one visit than will ever do.”

Like the good little patient I was … off I went. I won’t bore you with all the details. But what she said to me was, “for you to move forward, you will need to get your hands dirty. Literally.” Huh? “I see you up to your arms in clay, making things … not so much pots … but objects. You can make pots if you want to … but clay is what’s going to make you happy.” Of course she told me a lot of other stuff, about people in my past & future with uncanny accuracy. She was good! Thanks Phil!

Now my chronology may be off but some months later I had decided to go back to school and was picking classes. I needed a minimum of four. It would have been for the fall session. I had almost forgotten about my psychic encounter. I was going to take some art classes, drawing, art history, etc … and I needed to take one more class. As I’m looking through the course booklet for Brookdale Community College, in Lincroft NJ, I saw classes in ceramics. Clay. It reminded me of what the psychic said and I figured, either she’s right. Or she’s full of crap. Take a class and see what happens.

I was excited! The first class came. We already had a list of tools, and clay body we would need. Didn’t know what to expect, but our professor Lynn Peters seemed nice enough. Quirky enough. And she wanted us to just dive right in. While she was talking to us she wanted us to take a piece of clay and just make a pinch pot. This is the part that I always remember. As I started feeling the clay in my hands, I got the strangest feeling. Shivers that ran up my spine and out the top of my head. That was the feeling. I had NEVER felt like this before. But it was a feeling I’d know well in the years to come.

I’d love for this blog to be a dialog rather than another place for me to talk about me. ; ) Tell me about how you were first entranced by silica and fire. How did you come to clay? Leave your story in a comment below, or link to your own post on your website.

Thanks for stopping by. :)

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Joe Streno

Joe Streno

artist . musician . photographer . retired apple computer consultant . residing on planet earth with his two cats rudie, & rocco & living to tell tales about it

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